Catalan Government opens fast lane to take in minors fleeing war
A hundred Ukrainian children arrive in Terrassa to settle with families that already took them in during the summer
BarcelonaAn emergency fast lane to guarantee rights and protection for minors arriving in Catalonia fleeing the war in Ukraine. This is the emergency device that the Department of Social Rights has set up for the reception of children arriving to stay with host families without their legal guardians. The conflict in Ukraine has caused, on the one hand, a new migratory wave in Europe and, on the other hand, has brought to the surface the willingness of many families to take them in. "We are a country of solidarity and this fills us with pride, but we also have to be aware that we have to do the job well because the most important thing is to guarantee children's rights," said minister Violant Cervera during an event in Terrassa, where a local charity has brought a hundred minors who already regularly took part in foster programmes with Catalan families.
"We must ensure their safety [that of the minors] and avoid possible mafias that could take advantage of this situation," said Cervera in a joint press conference with the mayor of Terrassa, Jordi Ballart, and representatives of TANU, a charity that helps Ukrainian children from Ukraine. This NGO has managed to transport a hundred children from the country in conflict to Terrassa and immediately contacted the Government to regularise their reception. Thanks to this experience, the Catalan Government has been able to create an emergency fast lane for the reception of minors from Ukraine without legal guardians, with the aim of streamlining and simplifying this procedure. Entry into the country and the initial management of the fostering process will be done through the Directorate General for Child and Adolescent Care (DGAIA).
Thus, this agency will make an initial assessment and a provisional study of the emergency host family: it will contact the family, visit their home and interview them. Once this step has been completed, a resolution of preventive abandonment and provisional guardianship will be issued. As explained by the Government, the DGAIA will become the legal guardian of the child and provisional guardianship will be assigned to the family. The Institut Català de l'Acollida i l'Adopció will be the body that will formalise this foster care and will carry out the follow-up. The Government will also secure the children's access to health and education during their stay in the country.
Call to regularise and coordinate the reception of children from Ukraine
The constant arrival of people from Ukraine, in this case of minors, is of particular concern to the Department of Social Rights, which has also made an appeal to "anyone who wants to be a foster family, and anyone who is already hosting Ukrainian minors without legal guardians, to contact the department through the Infància Respon telephone number". People who want to foster children should call 116 111 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the department will collaborate with the Ukrainian consulate to process the necessary documentation and any other administrative action.
"With the experience of TANU we show that Terrassa is a model and example of a welcoming and peaceful city, and we show once again the enormous generosity and involvement of our citizens and organisations," said Mayor Ballart. In the case of refugee children mobilised by this entity, most host families already knew the children because they had spent holiday periods with them and the DGAIA has made this bond prevail.